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Why People Torture and Abuse

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Why People Torture and Abuse




People who find themselves caught up in anomic states â for instance, soldiers in war or incarcerated inmates â tend to feel helpless and alienated. They experience a partial or total loss of control. They have been rendered vulnerable, powerless, and defenseless by events and circumstances beyond their influence.

Torture amounts to exerting an absolute and all-pervasive domination of the victim's existence. It is a coping strategy employed by torturers who wish to reassert control over their lives and, thus, to re-establish their mastery and superiority. By subjugating the tortured â they regain their self-confidence and regulate their sense of self-worth.

Other tormentors channel their negative emotions â pent up aggression, humiliation, rage, envy, diffuse hatred â and displace them. The victim becomes a symbol of everything that's wrong in the torturer's life and the situation he finds himself caught in. The act of torture amounts to misplaced and violent venting.

(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)


Run time 4 minutes 41 seconds
Producer Sam Vaknin
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